The Chesterfield County School Board unanimously endorsed a new contract last Tuesday night for Dr. Marcus J. Newsome, superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS).
Effective July 1, 2011, the four-year contract – worth an annual $207,667, what he currently earns – runs through June 30, 2015, replacing the previous contract scheduled to expire in 2012, and will be reduced 3 percent as will all the salaries of senior administrators in the school system.
Newsome himself could not make the meeting, as his presence was needed for a family issue, and therefore could not comment on the new contract.
According to David Wyman, Board member from the Dale District, Newsome is a leader “pushing” 10,000 employees in the same direction towards a mission and vision. “His leadership is excellent in that regard,” said Wyman. “I think he’s done an excellent job from a leadership perspective.”
In the five years that Newsome has been the Superintendent for CCPS, student achievement, pass rates and graduation rates have been at all-time highs. The last two years, Standards of Learning pass rates have surpassed state averages, and pass rates on tests in mathematics, history, science, and reading have shown signs of definite increase.
“He’s one of the few superintendents that – I will tell you since I’ve been on this board in 20 years – has been willing to publicly advocate for kids and what they need,” said Marshall W. Trammell Jr., the Bermuda District member on the School Board.
Trammell mentioned that Newsome has to undergo a rigorous evaluation four times annually, assessing his ability to complete certain “bench marks” throughout the year.
Newsome served as the superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, the largest school division on the Virginia Peninsula, before coming to CCPS. While there, the Newport News school system earned national recognition, ranked by Newsweek magazine, among America’s Best High Schools. He has also worked in Prince George’s County (Md.) Public
Schools and the District of Columbia Public Schools in a multitude of administrative and teaching positions.
Matoaca Board member Omarh Rajah, one of the more outspoken members on the School Board, praises Newsome for his leadership capabilities despite some of the changes CCPS has endured the last two years – having to eliminate the positions of 500 employees and shedding $80 million from its budget.
“And as you start to move into another level you have to keep that same leadership intact,” Rajah said. “I believe Dr. Newsome has that capability to continue to move us to another level … Tonight I’m very humbled to say that Dr. Newsome possesses a humbleness and a meekness about him that I think I try to model myself after. He’s the calm in the storm and he’s always even-keeled; and you have to always have a leader like that, especially in dealing with a school system of this size that has a lot of storms.”